by Bryan Reid, Central City Foundation board member

I believe that those who have the good fortune to be able to assist, need to assist, whether that’s in time or money or some other way. I give back by volunteering as a board member for Central City Foundation, an organization dedicated to creative, collaborative solutions, and supporting the city as it evolves.

When I was growing up in Vancouver in the ’80s and ’90s, the city was beautiful but quaint. You could say it had not yet come into its own. Olympic Village was a series of auto body shops. Construction sites were rare and buildings with the magnitude of our downtown towers even rarer. Whistler had just one gas station and one grocery store.

In my 20s, I lived and worked abroad, in New York, Dallas, and Shanghai. Every time I came back to Vancouver I was astounded by the beauty of my home, but also by how much it had grown. Today that growth continues at an unbelievable pace: a phenomenal transformation is underway, with Vancouver taking its place on a global map.

When I moved back to Vancouver for good in 2011 I arranged for the eventual purchase of Kindred Construction, which was founded by my father in 1980, and I now manage the day-to-day operations of the company. As a kid I used to help out by pushing a broom around on construction sites and today, as vice-president, I have an opportunity to steer our company towards contributing to Vancouver’s growth and evolution in becoming a marketable, globally recognized city.

As the city grows, and as it becomes more expensive to live here, it’s critical we act thoughtfully, creatively, and with an eye to sustainability. As a father now myself—my son is one year old, and we have a second on the way—I’m acutely aware that the choices we make today shape the world future generations will inherit.

In my opinion, there are several things we must do. For one, adequate density will be key to protecting our natural landscape and ensuring people don’t get pushed out of their neighbourhoods. At the city level, creative planning decisions will have to be made. And we all have a responsibility to look out for our neighbours.

I joined Central City Foundation hoping my knowledge of the construction industry would be helpful as we continue to invest in and develop real estate that provides a social return to the community.

What fascinated me from the beginning was how Central City Foundation was involved in not only affordable housing but also so many overlapping projects that improve the lives of those in need. By partnering with community-based organizations and investing in initiatives ranging from addictions treatment to helping children in foster care thrive and so much more, Central City Foundation provides a backbone of support for those who need it.

From my work in real estate, which includes many projects for the hard-to-house, I know that giving someone a home isn’t necessarily enough to create lasting change in their life. Central City Foundation knows this too. Our work also supports health and wellness, reintegration into the community and building skills. And as I’ve noticed first-hand during visits to Central City Foundation buildings, we’re also dedicated to developing real relationships with our tenants—be they organizations or individuals—rather than simply being a landlord.

It’s an exciting time to be in Vancouver, and a particularly exciting time to be involved in real estate.

On a personal level, I enjoy seeing projects through from concept to completion, and watching them contribute to the beauty and impact of our city.

But we can all contribute to Vancouver’s evolution. All it takes is a moment of thoughtful reflection to ask yourself: what are your resources, and what do you want the Vancouver of the future to be?